Bentley graduates are armed with superpowers, thanks to Bert and John Jacobs, brothers and co-founders of the Boston-based Life is good (LIG) company. The dynamic duo addressed approximately 1,000 Bentley University undergraduate students at the 94th Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, 2013. Speaking to an estimated audience of 8,000, they shared some of their company’s core values, delivered in the optimistic “LIG style” that has become the trademark of their apparel and accessories, and iconic smiling stick figure, “Jake.” The Jacobs brothers each received an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the ceremony.
“At our company we refer to our core values as the ‘Life is good Superpowers.’ These are superpowers accessible to all. And they can help you find fulfillment not just in your careers but in your lives,” John said of values that include creativity, courage, love, authenticity, gratitude and fun. It was a lively day filled with audience participation, as the brothers launched Life is good Frisbees into the audience throughout the address, each one representing a particular superpower.
Recalling the devastating events surrounding the Boston Marathon, Bert described the company’s response: a Boston t-shirt to benefit effected families. “Our hearts go out to the families of the three we lost… to those who were badly injured. But we felt it was our job to focus on what was right rather than what was wrong.” Citing first responders and people who came together, he added, “One act of hate is no match for millions of acts of love. Love is a superpower!”
John shared how LIG’s authenticity is felt by customers. “Anyone who thinks they’re going to build a business or brand alone is not paying attention … the customer has taken control … that can be a bad thing if people view you as artificial … they can tear your business down … if they view you as authentic, they will help you build your business up … Whatever you choose to do, choose a career that you can be authentically passionate about, something that’s an extension of who you really are … Above all else, to thine own self be true. Authenticity is a superpower!”
Bert explained how the company has taken to heart the stories from customers who have faced adversity. “We no longer say “have to” — ever. We never say “I have to go to a late meeting” or “I have to work late” … we “get to.” And it carries over into your life beyond your business. If you ever say you “have to” go grocery shopping you’re missing the point. You “get to” go grocery shopping. You “get to” do your laundry because you get to stand on two legs … Gratitude is a superpower!”
Bert and John concluded with a superpower that got people up on their feet: fun. They cued up the brass band and to the beat of the popular song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore, belted out a song written especially for Bentley grads. “Tell us what you see, optimism’s key, it’s how to be, we guarantee, sing if you agree. We gonna let it fly …”
Bert and John Jacobs perform Let It Fly, written for Bentley University.
At the 38th annual commencement ceremony, Jorge Moran, Santander U.S. country head and president and CEO of Sovereign Bank, delivered the keynote address to graduate students at the Bentley University Graduate School of Business ceremony.
He specifically shared lessons that have led him not only professionally, but on a personal level:
Don’t be afraid of failing, leaving your comfort zone or facing your fears
Don’t walk alone, don’t work alone, don’t dream alone
Deliver on your commitments and honor your word
“A month ago the city of Boston was brutally hit by evil … But the city, the country, found enough strength to face that fear because courage is not the absence of fear, but the strength to face it. That’s why Boston is so strong.”
Growing up in a city in Northern Spain with a dramatic history, he referenced Christopher Columbus’ entrepreneurial spirit. “…if you want to grow, both as a corporation and as a person, you can’t forget Columbus’ words: ‘You will never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to leave your own shore.’ And remember, you can’t reach the other shore if you are alone.”
Citing life’s ups and downs, Moran emphasized that accomplishments happen when people work together. “ … Not only have I needed help and support to succeed, I also needed it when I failed. Sharing the root of a failure is the first step to succeed.”
It’s what has helped his team at Sovereign Santander overcome a very challenging economic environment. “ … they did it because they worked together. And in some ways, they – we – dream together.”
Citing the Liverpool soccer team’s motto “you never walk alone,” he urged graduates to said: “It means you can count on us to help make your dreams, your ideas come true … Nothing is impossible if you tem up with good and honest professionals … ”
The power of trust is something that guides Moran on a personal and professional level. “Trust is a priceless asset in good times and bad … If you spend your career and your life meaning what you say and honoring your word, I cannot guarantee you will get everything you want but I can promise you one thing – you will be successful. Because if you look at yourself in the mirror and trust the person you see, that is the definition of success.”
Moran received an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the ceremony.